Will Curiosity kill religion?

NASA is promising something historic:

SAM apparently spotted something interesting in a soil sample Curiosity’s huge robotic arm delivered to the instrument recently.

“This data is gonna be one for the history books,” Curiosity chief scientist John Grotzinger, of Caltech in Pasadena, told NPR. “It’s looking really good.”

Has NASA’s Curiosity rover made a big discovery? | MNN – Mother Nature Network.

So, if proteins and other life-building blocks have been found — rather, what if the dust of life’s building blocks have been found? What if NASA has found something that points to life previously on Mars?

Will that kill religion?

How will you react if something like a fossil is found?

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10 Replies to “Will Curiosity kill religion?”

  1. Why would it have any effect at all- other than perhaps a positive one – on religious belief in any case? This is simply a slightly neurotic instance of the loaded question. The Christian doctrine of the plurality of worlds and of God’s cosmic plenitude is an ancient one, beliefs particularly in evidence among presbyterians and Anglicans, but also common among Roman Catholics (and implicit also in many gnostic and neo-platonic faiths). The quarrel between scientistic libertarians and that strain of literal-minded and sub-literate evangelicals who confound the deity with some Charlton Heston-like figure in the clouds is largely, save for the Dawkins brigade, an American issue. In the 1820s, Thomas Chalmers had already made a point of orthodoxy the acceptance of God’s unlimited creative impulse and expansive context. Butler’s Analogy of Religion is also in agreement with the notion that universal divinity suggests universal presence wherever similar conditions prevail. So, your question presents a false dichotomy, and contains an undisclosed a priori assumption – that is, that religious people must feel downcast at evidence of a living cosmos, or that God only resonates at the level of a late-neolithic reading of religious texts.

    1. I would hope not. The problem with too many religionists (I use that term on purpose) is that they have this box. Once God is out of that box, they no longer recognize God and thus, themselves. They doubt and fear.

      I would hope that if we find life, or the remnants of life, on Mars, it makes us reexamine our life and our understanding of it.

  2. Hello Joel, long time no see.

    I don’t think it would kill religion, at least not certain kinds of religion. God as creator of the universe surely has the right to be as creative as he wishes to be. After all, he ancients did not have problems with the belief that God created intelligent life apart from us, otherwise why would they believe in angels? Anyway I was wondering if you would touch on another “loaded” topic, which is the multiverse. As I understand you believe that the multiverse hypothesis is scientifically plausible. So why don’t you share your thoughts on it.

    Also can you point me to a good book on the subject [multiverse] that is geared to the layman like me? Thank you and God bless.

    1. The multiverse as I understand it is one where other universes (not realties) exist beside this one, perhaps connected through black holes.

      Lee Smolin’s work here is deeply philosophical at this point, although he is an agnostic at best.

      Anyway, I think it is plausible and interesting. After all, if matter/energy is never destroyed, then what does that say about our souls and eternity?

  3. Thank you for the suggestion. Though may I ask what you were getting at with “what does that say about souls and eternity?”
    Are you, perhaps, suggesting that heaven is actually another dimension or something?
    I myself am not entirely sure what the multiverse has at all to say about souls, my personal feelings about science and religion is that both are at
    there best when they remain within their own fields of competence. That does not mean that science has nothing to say at all to religion only that it touches on questions that are not necessarily religious. Nor am I restricting religion only to lofty supernatural claims.
    Anyway thank you again for your time Joel and happy early Thanksgiving.

  4. Science has not even confirmed the presence of a soul, so how could it confirm immortality?? Some people just don’t understand science.

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